Tomorrow sees the usual betting frenzy and general excitement in horse racing circles that is... the Grand National. Millions of housewives and office sweepstakes place bets on a horses based generally on names, jockey colours and very rarely...form.
My office sweepstake this year is on State of Play who came fourth last year. However my own bet is on Backstage to win with an each way bet on Beat The Boys. I've just spotted good odds so will try my luck.
I'm not a great gambler on the horses. I won quite a substantial amount on an accumulator on the Cheltenham Gold Cup a few years back although it was during the days of large salaries and mad bets with work colleagues. Our day trips out consisted of hiring a bus, getting a box at Haydock races and getting as drunk as lords whilst betting like millionaires on each race. Great days, but you could see your colleagues liking the gambling a little more than perhaps appropriate.
My love of the races started many years ago when I stayed with some friends down in Suffolk and we went to Newmarket for a race day. I loved everything about it. The paddock, the tic tac betting stands, the posh race goers and the random picking of horses purely by watching them in paddock. My gambling strategy started with watching intently to see whether a horse eliminated a huge amount of dung from its backside. If it did, a bet was placed on the reckoning the horse was a few pounds lighter and probably had a bit of a spring in its step having been relieved of all that hay. Quite extraordinarily, that premise saw startling results in my winning of bets albeit they were usually £3 to win or £2 each way.
Last summer we went to Cartmel races which must be one the smallest and cutest racetracks in the country. It was a rotten raining August bank holiday and we got covered in mud, but the racing was great and I won a couple of races. This summer sees a trip to Carlisle races where Jools Holland and Alison Moyet are providing a bit of musical entertainment after the races.
I can't wait...